ARLINGTON, Texas – Tyron Smith will be absent when the Cowboys take on the Saints on Thursday night.
The Cowboys released their seven game day inactives Thursday prior to kickoff, and they listed their All-Pro left tackle among them. Smith suffered a stinger in the Nov. 18 win against Atlanta and has now missed two consecutive games.
The team’s other six inactives are Mike White, Tavon Austin, Sean Lee, Chris Covington, Geoff Swaim and David Irving.
The rest of those aren’t surprising. Austin, Lee and Irving were ruled out with injuries on Thursday, while White and Covington have been healthy scratches throughout the season.
Smith was the name to watch coming into this matchup. He did not practice this week, but the Cowboys said repeatedly they’d carry the decision up until game time in the hopes their perennial Pro Bowler could get himself right.
In Smith’s place, Fleming will make his second-consecutive start at left tackle. The veteran backup struggled early in last week’s win against Washington, as the Cowboys allowed four sacks in the first half. He seemed to rebound, though, as the Dallas offensive line did a much better job protecting Dak Prescott after halftime.
With Fleming in the starting lineup, Connor Williams figures to function as the Cowboys’ swing tackle for the time being.
The Saints listed two prominent players among their inactives, as Brandon Marshall and Terron Armstead were both ruled out. Armstead is the Saints’ preferred starter at left tackle, while Marshall was signed to bolster the receiving corps after the injury to Dez Bryant. Marshall has yet to play a snap for New Orleans, however.